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Conceptual agreement reached between Columbus school board, teachers' union

The Columbus Board of Education and the Columbus Education Association have reached a conceptual agreement, after nearly fourteen continuous hours of negotiations.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The school board and union representing teachers and other employees in the Columbus city school district have reached a “conceptual agreement,” tentatively ending a strike that began Monday.

The Columbus Board of Education and the Columbus Education Association announced the deal in separate statements issued early Thursday morning. 

Details of the new agreement will not be publicly shared until union members have reviewed and voted on ratification, according to the CEA. 

The district’s 47,000 students, who began the school year remotely on Wednesday, will continue with remote learning for the rest of the week.

RELATED: CCS addresses confusion over attendance during first day of remote learning

“This deal would not have been possible without the unwavering support of parents, community members, organized labor, and local businesses in Columbus," the union said in a statement.

Nearly 4,500 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists and other education professionals will meet on the weekend to vote on the new contract. The school board is scheduled to vote on the agreement following the union's ratification and in-school classes would resume Monday, both sides said.

Columbus Board of Education President Jennifer Adair said the board is happy to reach a conceptual agreement with the union and to soon have students back in the classrooms. 

"While the details cannot yet be disclosed, the contract recognizes the Board’s commitment to improving our student outcomes, the essential work of the CEA members, and strengthening our learning environments," Adair said in a statement.

Since March, the union pressed for safer buildings, better heating and air conditioning, smaller class sizes, and a more well-rounded curriculum that includes art, music and physical education. The school board said its offer put children first.

The union said more than 94% of its members voted to reject the school board’s final offer late Sunday and members took to picket lines for the first time since 1975.

“We recognize the sacrifices students, parents, and teachers alike have made during the last three days as we fought for the schools Columbus students deserve.” said union spokesperson Regina Fuentes. “Let the history books reflect that this strike was about students who deserved a commitment to modern schools with heating and air conditioning, smaller class sizes, and a well-rounded curriculum that includes art, music and P.E..”  

Statement from Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther

Statement from Columbus City Council 

“We are thankful that CEA and CCS leadership reached a conceptual agreement. We hope this deal truly works for teachers, students, parents, and the district. Today, we join families in their excitement to see students return to the classroom Monday.”

RELATED: 'The kids have suffered enough': CCS students face virtual learning challenges on first day of school

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